USD 410 adopts ACT Aspire testing program

Staff writer

The USD 410 board unanimously approved Monday night a new standardized testing program for grades three through 10, ACT Aspire, and switched its state assessment from the MAP test to the ACT test.

“We are looking at utilizing the ACT in a broader sense than we have up until this year,” superintendent Steve Noble said. “The most important thing that tipped the scale in favor of the ACT is that it’s what we’re using already in our schools.”

Noble pointed out that, besides taking the ACT in their junior years, students already have taken the ACT Explore test as eighth graders and the ACT Plan test as sophomores, and last year’s seniors took the ACT Work Keys test to assess college and career readiness. The ACT Aspire program will provide a way for students to progress their learning more naturally toward the ACT from a younger age.

Additionally, the switch from the MAP test to the ACT test to fulfill the requirement of a state-approved standardized assessment will keep the students’ preparation more focused.

“The state test as of now provides the students nothing,” Noble said. “It provides adults with a lot of information. But colleges don’t look at it for entry.”

Noble added that the ACT is the most important standardized test to college admissions departments across the country, having recently overtaken the SAT, which still has prominent influence on the west and east coasts.

Noble explained that the use of standardized tests is part of the national Common Core initiative, as well as the Kansas College and Career Readiness standards.

“We’re not teaching to the test, but we teach standards, and because the test assesses our students based on those standards, we can tell where we are,” Noble said.

The ACT tests that the district paid for will result in about a $2,000 dollar savings from the MAP tests that were used previously; however, the price of the ACT will rise in years two and three. The first year’s test will cost $5,712, and the second and third year’s tests are projected at $6,970 and $8,136, respectively. Noble said those projected prices could increase.

Noble also rolled out a new goal assessment plan for the district: The Five R’s. They are: Relationships, relevance, responsive culture, results, and rigor. The involvement of the ACT Aspire program and the switch to the ACT as the state-approved standardized test will help to fulfill the demand in the “results” category, Noble said.

In other business:

  • Lisa Wolf will talk to the faculty Monday at 10:30 a.m. about the ACT and the ACT Work Keys assessments.
  • The ceiling fans at Brown Gymnasium were replaced by the company that leased them to the school. Newer models were installed free of charge because the fans were not up to the dealer’s own standards of quality.
  • The board approved the resignations of Collette Haslett and Rachel Plenert from the positions of assistant volleyball coach of Hillsboro High School and Head Start family advocate, respectively.
  • The board approved a work agreement with Karen Sites to replace Plenert as Head Start family advocate at a starting wage of $9 per hour.
  • The board approved the supplemental contracts of: Terry Bebermeyer as the Hillsboro High School musical assistant director, Susan Saunders as Hillsboro Middle School girls basketball assistant coach, and Leah Rose as coordinator of the Hillsboro High School spring drama.
  • The board approved the school handbooks and made no changes.
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